2015 Holiday Gift Guide For Activisty Families

December 11, 2015 |  By josh |  Categories: News

Gift ideas from the author of A is for Activist and Counting on Community. aka. Gifts for Activists

However, when I wrote my first children’s book in 2012, I became acutely aware of the value of lists like this to those of us whose creative works go against the mainstream. If it weren’t for the those writers who bothered to look past the Top 10 lists on Amazon, neither A is for Activist, nor its sequel, Counting on Community, would have made it. Since then I’ve always made a point of paying it forward. My list is going to be heavy on what I know, which is children’s books, but there are some other things too. Here are my favorites for 2015:

1. Joelito’s Big Decision

Joelito's Big Decision
By Ann Berlak Illustrated by Daniel Camacho Spanish translation by José Antonio Galloso Hard Ball Press, 2015

By Ann Berlak
Illustrated by Daniel Camacho
Spanish translation by José Antonio Galloso
Hard Ball Press, 2015

Getting the word out about this book is one of my personal agendas. I love this book because I feel it picks up where A is for Activist leaves off. For the next age group up, a compelling story about a child and learning about how to make choices. A story about empathy and solidarity in the context of a real-world contemporary struggle—the fight for a livable wage. With gorgeous illustrations by Daniel Camacho, this is a book every activist family will want to have. http://www.hardballpress.com/joelito.html

2. Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement

By Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrated By Ekua Holmes
Candlewick Press, 2015

As an illustrator myself, it’s the artwork that first grabs me first. I’m generally leery of children’s books that adults like because the artwork appeals to them primarily—as those often end up sitting on the shelf once they’re in the kid’s room. This is not one of those books. Ekua Holmes’ style is both nuanced and grabbing. My kid will sit and look through it for… well, longer than most things. Oh, and it’s about Fannie Lou Hamer! You don’t get more activist than her.http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780763665319

3. I Am Sausal Creek

I Am Sausal Creek

By Melissa Reyes.
Illustrated by Robert Trujillo.
Spanish translation by Cinthya Muñoz
Nomadic Press, 2015

I love this book. There are so many layers. Told from the perspective of a creek that flows through Oakland, it is also about the history of the land and it’s people, colonization, the environment, and ultimately, through resilience, liberation.http://www.nomadicpress.org/store/iamsausalcreek

4. Large Fears

Large Fears

By Myles E. Johnson
Illustrated by Kendrick Daye

What’s cool about Large Fears, aside from the book itself and the fact that it creates “a space for queer black boys in children’s literature” (Huffington Post), is the team behind it has developed a workshop around fear, differences and community.http://largefears.com/large-fears/

5. A Badass Feminist Coloring Book

A Badass Feminist Coloring Book

By Ijeoma Oluo

This coloring book is indeed badass, and it comes in both teen-friendly and adult versions. It’s a wonderful celebration of unapologetic, in-your-face feminism with an attitude. You have to be okay with “ass” being in the title. But if you believe that IF it’s appropriate for your teen to be flipping off anything, it’s patriarchy, this book is for you. http://www.badassbooks.net/

6. Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements

Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements

Editors: Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown
AK Press, 2015

I was never much of a science fiction fan myself, but this, I can get into. And so can the teenagers in my community household. And pretty much everyone I know who reads. If you’re not sure who in the family to get this for, I’d say give it to all of them.https://www.akpress.org/octavia-s-brood.html

7. Rad American Women A to Z

Rad American Women A to Z

By Kate Schatz
Illustrated by Miriam Stahl
City Lights Books, 2015

This book has seen wonderful success, so I include it not because it hasn’t been properly recognized, but no 2015 list would be complete without it. Plus my 5 year old loves it :). http://radamericanwomen.com/


8. 365 Daily Affirmations for Revolutionary Proletarian Militants desk calendar

365 Daily Affirmations for Revolutionary Proletarian Militants desk calendar

By Stephanie McMillan

“Trying is not enough, we are in it to win!” and “I push through my fear of rejection and reach out to strangers, so we can unite & fight together” are my kind of daily affirmations! http://stephaniemcmillan.org/shop/

9. Movement Movin’

Movement Movin’

Mass Bass

My 5 year old loves Ozomatli, Quetzal, Jurassic 5 and Pistolera*, so I’m a bit behind the times, I know. New in 2015 is Mass Bass, a 7-piece funky hip hop radical soul collective from Oakland bringing conscious lyrics and infectious beats. Contains the occasional swear word, but nothing your kid probably doesn’t hear you use, despite your best efforts. http://massbassmusic.com/

*Speaking of Pistolera, their children’s music alter-ego, Moona Luna, just released a new album, PANORAMA. Not explicitly activisty, but I have to include it here because, well, they’re great: http://moonaluna.bandcamp.com/album/p-a-n-o-r-a-m-a

10. Posters from Just Seeds Artist Cooperative

New 2015 works from my favorite radical printmaking collective featuring Favianna Rodriguez, Melanie Cervantez, Jesus Barraza, Josh McFee, Fernando Marti and many more: http://justseeds.org

Didn’t find the perfect gift on this list? Then check out one of these great catalogs:

Syracuse Cultural Workers: https://www.syracuseculturalworkers.com/
Reach and Teach: http://www.reachandteach.com
Toolbox for Education and Social Action: http://store.toolboxfored.org/

About the Author

Innosanto Nagara is the author and illustrator of A is for Activist (2013) and A de Activista (with Martha Gonzalez, 2014) and Counting on Community (2015)

Some other projects he did this year that also make good gifts:
Together We Can Do It poster
Whale Heart Anthology by Maya Christina Gonzalez and 23 contributors (including me)
Adikku Sayang: Classic Indonesian Childrens Music and Book

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